Monaghan man to be sentenced for IRA membership

Monaghan man to be sentenced for IRA membership

A Monaghan man who was using his land and land belonging to his mother-in-law for dissident republican activity will be sentenced by the Special Criminal Court next Monday.

Jim Smyth (44), with an address at Aghalissabeagh, Scotstown, County Monaghan was convicted last month of membership of an unlawful organization, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, on November 25, 2015.

During his trial, the three-judge, non-jury court heard evidence from Chief Superintendent Christopher Mangan, who said that it was his belief that Smyth was an IRA member on the date in question.

The court also heard supporting evidence for Chief Superintendent Mangan’s belief.  In November 2015 Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Maguire, of the Special Detective Unit, convened a meeting in Monaghan garda station on the day of the offence.

He said he informed the other officers that Smyth was using his land and land belonging to his mother-in-law at Knockatallon, County Monaghan, for IRA activities.

The court heard that after the meeting gardai from the Special Detective Unit and Crime and Security  went to land around two derelict houses at Knockatallon to carry out a search

Detective Sergeant Gerard O'Doherty gave evidence in the trial and told the court that at the meeting, he had been informed that the lands at Knockatallon were being used for IRA activity and Smyth was "instrumental" in that activity.

The court previously heard that memos of garda interviews were conducted with Smyth under Section 2 of the Offences Against the State Act. The section allows a court to draw inferences from a suspected person's failure or refusal to answer questions regarding alleged IRA membership.

With regard to certain questions, Smyth said he was not a member of the IRA but with regard to specific items found after the arrest he declined to answer.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, presiding at the three judge non jury court, said that the court would sentence Smyth on June 26th.